Financial News http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12009/all en-US Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves http://www.wisebread.com/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/donald_trump_98978789.jpg" alt="Donald Trump could bring higher interest rates and inflation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a matter of weeks, America will have a new President, and people are already speculating as to what a new man in the White House will mean for the economy.</p> <p>Donald Trump outlined a series of policy proposals on the campaign trail, including some that, according to economists, may impact inflation and interest rates. This comes at a time when the Federal Reserve has been hinting at raising interest rates for a while. So if all of this happens, what should you do with your money? Here are some ideas.</p> <h2>If There's Inflation</h2> <p>Ifd the federal government opens up the fiscal spigot, inflation is sure to follow.</p> <h3>1. Take a Look at Gold</h3> <p>Gold has long been a popular investment for those seeking protection against inflation, especially during times of political and global uncertainty. Prices for gold spiked in the immediate aftermath of Trump's election, but are still quite low from a historical standpoint.</p> <p>There are several ways to purchase gold. You can buy gold bars or bullion and store it, or purchase shares of companies involved in gold mining. There are also exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the performance of gold or gold-related industries.</p> <h3>2. Get Into TIPS</h3> <p>The U.S. Treasury offers something called Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, or TIPS. These are pegged to the Consumer Price Index, so when the index rises, the value of the investment rises with it. These are solid, low-risk investments that are perfect for when inflation is a possibility, and they are exempt from state and local income taxes. It's also possible to own TIPS in a retirement fund, via an ETF or mutual fund.</p> <h3>3. Invest in Commodities</h3> <p>In addition to gold, there are other commodities that can be used as a hedge against inflation. Many commodities, including oil, wheat, and even live cattle naturally rise with inflation. If you're unsure of which commodities to buy, consider looking at a fund or ETF that invests in commodities broadly. The PowerShares DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund [NYSE: <a href="http://www.google.com/finance?cid=722064">DBC</a>]) and the Fidelity Series Commodity Strategy Fund [NYSE: <a href="https://www.google.com/finance?q=FCSSX&amp;ei=4G48WJC_BdWNmAHcobLABw">FCSSX</a>] are two examples.</p> <h3>4. Get Real With Real Estate</h3> <p>Real estate is another area that often does well during an inflationary period. There are many ways to obtain real estate, either by purchasing property directly, or by buying shares of real estate investment trusts, or REITs. The caveat here is that if interest rates rise, then the cost of a mortgage to purchase real estate will also go up. So it may be smart to get in now while interest rates are still at historic lows.</p> <h2>If Interest Rates Rise</h2> <p>The Federal Reserve is expected to tick interest rates up a bit soon, while Trump's economic proposals could accelerate that process.</p> <h3>1. Invest in Banks</h3> <p>Banks generally do better when interest rates are higher than they are now. Right now, these companies have a low &quot;net interest margin&quot; &mdash; the difference between the interest they earn and the interest they pay out. Higher rates will increase this margin, thus increasing the bank's profitability.</p> <h3>2. Lock in a Fixed Rate</h3> <p>If you have a mortgage with an adjustable rate, now is the time to lock into something more stable, before interest rates rise. Convert your mortgage to a fixed-rate loan now, while interest rates are low. If you don't do this, your rate could adjust upward to a level that you may find unsustainable.</p> <h3>3. Switch to Short-Term Bonds</h3> <p>If interest rates are about to go up, you don't want your money tied up in something that's not paying a high rate. Placing your money in shorter term bonds and bond funds will allow you to remove your money earlier and then reinvest it in something with a higher return once rates rise. Long-term bonds do pay a higher rate than short-term bonds, but you lose flexibility.</p> <h3>4. Bolster Your Cash Holdings</h3> <p>With interest rates at ultralow levels, there hasn't been much incentive to hold on to a lot of cash. But if interest rates rise, you may find it's worth it to have a little more cash on hand, as it will generate some income for you. Stocks and other investments will probably still be more lucrative, but higher interest rates means there won't be as much downside to having more liquid savings, and it may give you more peace of mind.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oh-noes-inflation">Oh noes! Inflation!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-investments-that-may-soar-during-trumps-term">8 Investments That May Soar During Trump&#039;s Term</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/inflation-is-going-away-for-a-while">Inflation is going away for a while</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-and-bonds-that-will-profit-from-the-fed-rate-hike">10 Stocks and Bonds That Will Profit From the Fed Rate Hike</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Financial News bonds donald trump federal reserve gold inflation interest rates investing president Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1843966 at http://www.wisebread.com EpiPens and Other Ways Companies Have Profited From Your Pain http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/medication_pills_money_88647685.jpg" alt="Learning how epipens and other companies profit from pain" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The EpiPen literally saves lives. So naturally, the makers of the lifesaving product decided to cash in on that, <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/mylans-epipen-price-increases-are-valeant-like-in-size-shkreli-like-in-approach-2016-07-20">raising the cost</a> from $100 for a package of two, to over $600! (And that's with a coupon, by the way).</p> <p>The reason behind the dramatic increase is awful. According to Tech Times, five top Mylan NV executives had to hit some <a href="http://www.techtimes.com/articles/175921/20160901/whats-the-reason-behind-the-outrageous-epipen-price-increase-executive-pay-of-course.htm">pretty incredible sales figures</a> to achieve their combined $82 million in bonuses. Knowing the EpiPen is essential to many people, they simply jacked the price up and hit their goals. But, as you'll soon discover, this isn't the first time companies like Mylan NV have stuck it to people in need of medications.</p> <h2>Daraprim, One Pill &mdash; $13.50 to $750</h2> <p>If the drug doesn't sound familiar, the awful person behind its price hike will. His name is Martin Shkreli, often described in news stories and social media outlets as a man with a face you'd love to slap. His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, acquired Daraprim in 2015 for $55 million. The drug is used to fight AIDS, malaria, and is also an antiparasitic. On September 17th, 2015, it was reported that the price of the drug had spiked from <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/business/a-huge-overnight-increase-in-a-drugs-price-raises-protests.html?_r=0">$13.50 per pill to $750 per pill</a>, an increase of 5,456%!</p> <p>Shkreli defended the massive increase, saying &quot;If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don't think that that should be a crime.&quot; It was poetic justice to see <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/06/accused-fraudster-martin-shkreli-pleads-not-guilty-to-indictment-filed-last-week.html">Shkreli in court this year</a>.</p> <h2>Cycloserine, 30 Capsules &mdash; $500 to $10,800</h2> <p>Used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis, Cycloserine was already costly at $500 for 30 capsules. So when Rodelis acquired the drug and <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/tuberculosis-drug-cycloserines-massive-price-hike-rodelis-therapeutics-rolled-back-2107884">raised the price</a> in September 2015, overnight, to $10,800 for the same number of pills, there was outrage. In fact, so much was said about it that biotechnology stocks suffered losses, with investors worried about the backlash. Rodelis caved to pressure and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/22/business/big-price-increase-for-tb-drug-is-rescinded.html?hpw&amp;rref=health&amp;action=click&amp;pgtype=Homepage&amp;module=well-region&amp;region=bottom-well&amp;WT.nav=bottom-well&amp;_r=1">gave the drug back</a> to its previous owners, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Purdue University. However, the drug did not go back to its regular price. The cost was doubled from $500 to $1,050 for 30 capsules.</p> <h2>Isuprel, One Vial &mdash; $180 to $1,472</h2> <p>A drug used to treat abnormal heart rhythms is, as you can imagine, vital to many people in the U.S. and around the world. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International didn't see that as a good enough reason to keep the drug at its already steep price, and <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">jacked the cost up by 718%</a> in February last year. Valeant were called before Congress to explain their actions, and agreed to set up discounts of as much as 40% on the drug. As of May 11th, many heart hospitals were still <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/12/business/valeant-promised-price-breaks-on-drugs-heart-hospitals-are-still-waiting.html">waiting for those discounts</a> to appear.</p> <h2>Nitropress, One Vial &mdash; $215 to $881</h2> <p>The same company responsible for the Isuprel price hike were also behind the massive cost increase of Nitropress last year, a drug used to keep blood pressure low during heart surgeries. However, it wasn't quite as steep as the Isuprel rise, costing hospitals, and therefore patients, 312% more. The then CEO of Valeant, J. Michael Pearson (who has a net worth of $175 million) issued a statement saying the price increases were mistakes, saying &quot;The company was too aggressive &mdash; and I, as its leader, was too aggressive &mdash; in pursuing price increases on certain drugs.&quot; That probably comes as little comfort to the people who receive their hospital bills.</p> <h2>Vimovo, One Tablet &mdash; $1.88 to $23.86</h2> <p>There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. If you are diagnosed with it, you will be suffering from joint pain that can be crippling and debilitating. So, a drug that helps ease this pain should not be just as painful to buy.</p> <p>Horizon Pharma acquired the rights to the drug Vimovo, which helps to fight arthritis, in 2013. It then <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/10/20/investing/drug-price-hikes-martin-shkreli-valeant/">hiked the price by 597%</a>, taking one tablet from $1.88 to $23.86. Considering a vast number of people suffering from this condition are in retirement and on a fixed income, this is a disgrace. But the company hiked the price again recently, with a pack of 60 tablets <a href="http://www.goodrx.com/vimovo">now costing over $2,000</a> (with a coupon). Ironically, the drug is simply a mixture of two very cheap drugs, esomeprazole and naproxen. Many doctors are encouraged (that means kickbacks) by big pharma companies to write &quot;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/20/business/drug-makers-sidestep-barriers-on-pricing.html">prescriptions made easy</a>&quot; for these combination drugs. Always ask your doctor if there is a cheaper alternative that works just as well.</p> <h2>Dutoprol, One Pill &mdash; $0.52 to $5.26</h2> <p>This drug is used to treat high blood pressure, and up until 2013, the price was fairly reasonable &mdash; around $15 for a bottle of 30 pills. Clearly, the company the manufactures Dutoprol, Covis Pharma, was not happy with a reasonable price. So, they <a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/stunning-increases-drug-prices-that-have-shot-400-1200-percent/">hiked the price by 1,013%</a> to $5.26 per pill, or $157.80 for a bottle of 30 pills.</p> <h2>Sprix Nasal Spray, One Bottle &mdash; $32.07 to $183.97</h2> <p>If you have severe nasal pain, you will require a good pain reliever. Sprix is the only nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) on the market, and is preferred by people who do not want to use opioids or controlled substances. That preference will now cost a lot more. In February of 2015, Egalet Corp <a href="http://hedgeclippers.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/NDC-Description.png">raised the price of one bottle</a> from $32.07 to $183.97, an increase of 574%. And as the spray is often sold in packs of five, you will be paying over $900 for that much-needed pain relief.</p> <h2>Tasmar, One Tablet &mdash; $15.70 to $105.98</h2> <p>Perhaps the most famous person you'll know of that may need Tasmar is Michael J. Fox. It's a drug used to treat the effects of Parkinson's disease. And once again, Valeant Pharmaceuticals is behind the massive price hike. In April last year, the company decided to raise the price of one tablet from $15.70 to $105.98, an increase of 675%. While a movie star may not have issues paying that bill, most people will get serious sticker shock when they have to pay over $6,300 for their bottle of 60 tablets.</p> <h2>Edecrin, One Vial &mdash; $470 to $4,600</h2> <p>Used in the treatment of edema and heart failure, Edecrin is a diuretic that helps your body get rid of excess salt and water. When Valeant acquired the rights to this drug, it started raising prices. Not once. Not twice. Not three times. The price has been increased <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/05/business/valeants-drug-price-strategy-enriches-it-but-infuriates-patients-and-lawmakers.html">an astonishing nine times </a>since 2014, and is now $4,600 per vial.</p> <h2>Targretin Gel, One Tube &mdash; $1,687 to $30,320</h2> <p>Those are not typos. You did read that correctly. There is clearly something going wrong somewhere when a company can charge more than the price of a Dodge Charger for a tube of topical gel. And, of course, it's used to address the symptoms of a form of cancer, which is one of the most expensive diseases to treat. Once again, those wonderful people at Valeant are behind the rise, and at over $1,600 a tube to begin with, it was hardly in desperate need of a price hike. But, they did it, making the small tube of gel <a href="http://www.fiercepharma.com/financials/jama-valeant-s-18-fold-price-hikes-top-widespread-increases-dermatology-prices">18 times more expensive</a> after they bought the rights to the drug in 2013.</p> <p>Valeant has defended the rise, saying full retail prices &quot;rarely represent the prices that patients and insurers are paying or what the pharmaceutical company receives.&quot; If you don't have good insurance, or any insurance, you likely won't have the money needed for this drug. Incidentally, at the same time, <a href="https://healthfinder.gov/News/Article.aspx?id=705625">Valeant raised the price of Carac cream</a>, another topical treatment dealing with skin cancer, from $159 to $2,705. The message this company is sending is clear&hellip;you get sick, we get rich.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/epipens-and-other-ways-companies-have-profited-from-your-pain">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-gadget-that-can-save-you-thousands-of-dollars">The $5 Gadget That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/don-t-waste-your-money-on-homeopathic-remedies">Don’t Waste Your Money on Homeopathic “Remedies”</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthcare-20-websites-to-help-you-save-on-doctors-dentists-and-more">Healthcare 2.0: Websites to Help You Save on Doctors, Dentists, and More</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Financial News Health and Beauty big pharma companies drugs health care illness medication pharmaceuticals price hikes Thu, 22 Sep 2016 10:00:05 +0000 Paul Michael 1796989 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Bitcoin Still a Thing? http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_bitcoin_sign_41596574.jpg" alt="Man wondering if Bitcoin is still a thing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Bitcoin. You may have heard the term. You may even know someone who has a bunch of them. But is Bitcoin just a fad that's dying out, or is it here to stay?</p> <p>Let's dive into a brief history of Bitcoin, the troubles it has faced, and the answer to the question on so many lips&hellip;is Bitcoin still a thing?</p> <h2>What Is Bitcoin?</h2> <p>Bitcoin is a form of currency that falls under the umbrella of &quot;cryptocurrency.&quot; To keep this simple, think of Bitcoin as currency that exists primarily in cyberspace, at a specific Bitcoin address that is linked with an access key. Unlike every other form of currency, it is decentralized, meaning large banks and corporations have no control over it. Plus, Bitcoins are not produced in the same manner as dollars or euros; they are generated by people through a process known as mining, which requires software that can solve complex mathematical problems.</p> <p>Perhaps the biggest selling point of Bitcoin is the finite nature of the currency. There is something called Bitcoin protocol, and it stipulates that only 21 million Bitcoins can ever be created. That's it. So clearly, as the demand for Bitcoins increases, so, too, does their value. (It's a little like trying to move into a town or city that has outlawed new construction. The houses in that area continue to rise in value as more people want to move in.)</p> <p>Another huge selling point is that it is completely anonymous. Plus, Bitcoin has tiny transaction fees, it's fast, and it's transparent. Every transaction is recorded (which is why Martin Shkreli's claim about <a href="http://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/02/15/pharma-bro-martin-shkreli-lied-about-bitcoin-so-someone-spent-his-real-money-on-lube/">losing $15 million in Bitcoins</a> was bogus).</p> <h2>How Did Bitcoin Come to Exist?</h2> <p>Created by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoins came into existence in 2008 after his paper <em>Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System</em> was published. The idea was to create a low-fee electronic payment system that was free from any central authority, and easily or instantly transferrable. It wasn't until two years later that the first Bitcoins were used, and at the time they were worth less than a penny each (today, Bitcoins are valued at over $560 each, but the price fluctuates daily, and has hit a high of $1216.73). The biggest draw of Bitcoins &mdash; anonymity &mdash; meant that it became the preferred unit of currency for illegal activities on the online black market, such as the now shuttered Silk Road. However, as the price of Bitcoins rose meteorically, people who simply wanted to make money took an interest.</p> <h2>How Do You Acquire Bitcoins?</h2> <p>You can set up an <a href="https://bitcoin.org/en/getting-started">account at Bitcoin.org</a> in seconds. Once there, you choose a wallet, and can then get Bitcoins in a few different ways:</p> <ol> <li>Simply purchase them. You can set up a currency exchange with your bank, and have the Bitcoins (or pieces of a Bitcoin) deposited in your account.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can accept Bitcoins as a payment for goods or services. If you sell items online, you can ask to be paid in Bitcoins. If you freelance, you can do the same thing. It's not easy at the moment, but as more retailers and people realize the value of Bitcoins, it could become as natural as using PayPal.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Mine Bitcoins. This is the hardest part. It would take a much longer article to explain it all, but just know it is not exactly a walk in the park. With the current difficulty level and requisite hardware, it will take you <a href="https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=556189.0">1,367 years to mine just one Bitcoin</a>!</li> </ol> <h2>What Troubles Have Plagued Bitcoin?</h2> <p>Aside from being associated with the sale and purchase of illegal guns, drugs, and other black market goods and services, Bitcoin has certainly had some setbacks.</p> <p>For starters, Bitcoin is a digital currency, and anything digital comes with hackers ready to find a weakness and exploit it. Just last week, a major Bitcoin exchange called <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/francescoppola/2016/08/06/theft-and-mayhem-in-the-bitcoin-world/#52d897a951ae">Bitfinex was hacked</a>, and 120,000 Bitcoins (roughly $60 million) were stolen. Back in 2014, another exchange, MtGox, was hacked and lost over 850,000 Bitcoins, valued at the time at over $620 million!</p> <p>Not only that, but some authorities refuse to even acknowledge that Bitcoin is a legitimate currency. Recently, a judge in Florida ruled that Bitcoin was <a href="https://thebillfold.com/florida-judge-rules-bitcoin-is-not-money-35752c22b67e#.cjr8xphlj">not considered money</a> because it &quot;cannot be hidden under a mattress like cash or gold bars.&quot; Ironically, this statement is going to have people running to use Bitcoin if they now realize they can legally launder money with it. What's more, you can actually have physical Bitcoins. You can even print them with a 3D printer. As long as they are linked to a Bitcoin address, and have an access key, they work. But for millions of people, this idea of money existing only in cyberspace is very disconcerting.</p> <h2>So&hellip;Is Bitcoin Still a Thing?</h2> <p>In a word, yes.</p> <p>Although the price of a Bitcoin is less than half what it was in 2013, the thing that makes Bitcoin a success is usage. Several years ago, few retailers were willing to touch Bitcoin as a method of payment. Now, more and more blue chip, big name <a href="http://spendbitcoins.com/">companies are taking Bitcoin</a>, and as more join the list, Bitcoin will become even more enticing. Here are just a few of the many companies now taking the cryptocurrency:</p> <ul> <li>Expedia</li> <li>NewEgg</li> <li>Amazon</li> <li>Overstock</li> <li>AliExpress</li> </ul> <p>With so many big names willing to accept Bitcoins, and the price of them rising as more people get into the market, Bitcoins are still viable and may even become more attractive to the average consumer. So, if you're interested, you may want to consider getting in sooner rather than later. After all, the person who spent <a href="https://news.bitcoin.com/bitcoin-pizza-day-anniversary/">10,000 Bitcoins on two pizzas</a> back in 2010 would have $4 million today!</p> <p><em>Are you over Bitcoin and cryptocurrency? Or are you still mining?</em><em><br /> </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-everything-you-need-to-get-started-with-bitcoin">Here&#039;s Everything You Need to Get Started With Bitcoin</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves">Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-purchases-with-financing-options-that-depreciate-fast">4 Purchases With Financing Options That Depreciate Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-switch-banks">How to Switch Banks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-i-learned-working-as-a-corn-detasseler">6 Money Lessons I Learned Working as a Corn Detasseler</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Financial News bitcoin cryptocurrencies digital wallets fads online payments value Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:30:23 +0000 Paul Michael 1775888 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways a Donald Trump Presidency Could Impact Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-donald-trump-presidency-could-impact-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-a-donald-trump-presidency-could-impact-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/donald_trump_5440995682_c53756ae95_b.jpg" alt="Learning how Donald Trump presidency could impact wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Real estate mogul and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/donald-trumps-5-biggest-business-failures">political firebrand Donald Trump</a> is turning the 2016 election on its head. He's done an excellent job of monopolizing the overall conversation (whether you like what he's saying or not) and, in turn, he's got pundits across the nation simultaneously wagging their tongues.</p> <p>But while Trump has plenty to say about a lot of things, it's his focus on the American economy that holds the most weight. After all, he didn't become a big-mouthed billionaire by being a dummy. So how will a potential Trump presidency impact your own wallet? Let's take a look at some of his money-minded stances to get a very early idea of what could be in store.</p> <h2>1. Allowing the Interstate Shipping of Alcohol</h2> <p>After Prohibition, the federal government threw up its proverbial hands and stopped meddling in alcohol shipments. As a result, every state over the course of 80 years has made their own laws, some of which are more protectionist than others. What was put into place is the so-called &quot;three-tier system,&quot; wherein a winery makes the wine, sells it to a distributor, who then sells to a retailer. Which basically translates to lots of middlemen.</p> <p>But according to Mark Aselstine, owner of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uncorkedventures.com">Uncorked Ventures</a> wine club, the three-tier system is being broken down in a number of places. Wineries now have tasting rooms and websites and sell directly to consumers, for instance, and there's only a small handful of nationwide distributors left.</p> <p>If Trump wanted, he and Congress could create a federal system like they have in the United Kingdom or Australia.</p> <p>&quot;Theoretically, the commerce clause allows for interstate shipments of all products and doesn't allow protectionist practices,&quot; Aselstine says. &quot;Assuming Trump would want to perhaps enforce the dormant commerce clause, my business might grow 33% overnight based solely on having more markets opened up to my sales.&quot; As would Trump Wineries, owned by Trump's son, Eric.</p> <p>And how would this affect consumers?</p> <p>&quot;For consumers, no middlemen generally means both better prices and more interesting wine, let alone the fact that when people come to Napa or Sonoma they love spending time with the winemaker, as opposed to sales folks &mdash; and more profit per bottle makes that more likely to happen,&quot; says Aselstine. &quot;All in all, most think that direct-to-consumer sales is a healthy sign for the industry.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Putting ObamaCare on the Chopping Block</h2> <p>Republicans across the board, almost unanimously, would like to see ObamaCare repealed. In alignment with his party, Trump has mentioned that if he's president, he'd work to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and replace it with &quot;something terrific.&quot; He hasn't yet proposed a solid plan for what he aims to do on the health care front, just that the system should rely on private health plans that are largely unregulated by the government.</p> <p>That would be good news for many Americans financially strapped by the mandatory ObamaCare plans, including Tanja Crouch.</p> <p>&quot;For us, our insurance coverage rates tripled, and we had less coverage than prior to Obama,&quot; she says. &quot;We can no longer afford annual doctor visits because the premiums are so high there is no money left to pay toward the now escalated co-pays. If ObamaCare was repealed and we returned to former coverage, we would immediately have another $6,000 to $7,000 annually in our bank account.&quot;</p> <h2>3. A Big Shake-Up on the Tax Front</h2> <p>Along with the recent announcement of his new book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Y2QYEIM/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00Y2QYEIM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=T7MG4RAYXQLK4FLO">Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again</a> (because, why not?), Trump also laid out specific plans for tax reform. Called the &quot;1-5-10-15&quot; income tax plan, the reform aims to tax the rich more and the rest of us less. Here's the structure:</p> <ul> <li>Those making up to $30,000 will pay 1%.</li> <li>Income from $30,000 to $100,000 results in a flat 5%.</li> <li>$100,000 to $1 million income will be taxed at 10%.</li> <li>$1 million or above will be taxed 15%</li> </ul> <p>&quot;I think that a Donald Trump presidency would allow Americans to keep more of their hard earned money as he's made plenty of income tax proposals, such as getting rid of the estate tax, lowering capital gains taxes, and a reducing personal income tax rates for most,&quot; says David Bakke, finance expert at <a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com">Money Crashers</a>. &quot;There might also be more available jobs, since he also proposes abolishing corporate taxes, which might spur potential entrepreneurs to open their own small business, and existing business owners might be able to do more hiring.&quot;</p> <p>John Boyd Jr., principal at The Boyd Company, a location-consulting firm, expands Bakke's theory.</p> <p>&quot;Donald Trump has a number of economic policy positions that I expect to be popular among job creators, particularly his plan to eliminate corporate taxes (the U.S. currently has the highest nominal rate in the world at 39%). His plan to eliminate corporate taxes can help the U.S. experience a renaissance of new manufacturing and corporate investment activity (over $2 trillion of U.S. capital is currently sitting overseas because of the high corporate tax rate in the U.S.) Trump also plans to lower the capital gains tax. In my view, this would provide a stimulus to the nation's real estate and stock markets &mdash; a much needed boost as interest rate hikes are expected to be on the way &mdash; and eliminating the estate tax.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Imposing Trade Tariffs to Account for the Lost Tax Revenue</h2> <p>Of course, we'll have to make up for a lot of lost tax revenue if Trump's restructuring becomes a reality if he's elected. That likely means imposing trade tariffs on export countries &mdash; which, according to Boyd, could create marketplace rifts that may hinder America's economic growth.</p> <p>&quot;[Trump] said he plans on making up for the revenue that is currently generated through taxes by imposing tariffs on imports from countries like China and Mexico, but that could result in a trade war, which could negatively impact the jobs market,&quot; Boyd says.</p> <h2>5. No Raise in Minimum Wage</h2> <p>Though Trump has toyed with the idea of proposing two minimum wages &mdash; one for young workers and one for older workers &mdash; his official stance seems to be that he's not interested in backing a higher minimum wage (which is already a hot-button issue this election cycle). Instead, the minimum wage under his presidency will remain the same &mdash; but there's a logic to it, according to Trump.</p> <p>In a recent interview on NBC's &quot;Meet the Press,&quot; he insisted that <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/donald-trump-keep-minimum-wage-pretty-much-where-it-now-n410571">minimum wage</a> would be a non-issue if he's elected. &quot;I'm going to bring jobs back. You will even be surprised, Chuck, you will be very surprised,&quot; Trump told host Chuck Todd. &quot;So that we won't even have to be talking about the minimum wage.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Vowing to Leave Social Security and Medicare Alone</h2> <p>Unlike many of the other Republican candidates gunning for the GOP nomination, Trump is&nbsp;<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/election/2015/07/25/3684164/case-for-donald-trump/">opposed to cutting programs</a> relied on by the elderly, disabled and poor, like Social Security and Medicare. &quot;It's not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to be cut,&quot; Trump told the New Hampshire Republican Leadership Summit in April. On the flip side, GOP favorite Jeb Bush is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum by proposing that Medicare be &quot;phased out&quot; completely &mdash; a stance that doesn't sit well with the millions of Americans who rely on the program.</p> <p>&quot;Trump, unlike the rest of the GOP field, does not support efforts to privatize Social Security or raise the age for Medicare eligibility,&quot; Boyd explains. &quot;This will be popular among retirees and blue-collar Americans &mdash; many of the same voters that find his trade policies appealing.&quot;</p> <p><em>How do you think a Trump presidency might impact your wallet? Let us know in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-donald-trump-presidency-could-impact-your-wallet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves">Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-trumps-presidency-might-change-student-loans">How Trump&#039;s Presidency Might Change Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do">Clams, Cheese, and Bread: Why We Call Money What We Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing">Is Bitcoin Still a Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement">5 Ways to Profit From Obama&#039;s Cuba Announcement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News 2016 presidential election donald trump GOP republicans Wed, 16 Sep 2015 13:00:22 +0000 Mikey Rox 1555211 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Cities You Never Knew Went Bankrupt http://www.wisebread.com/9-cities-you-never-knew-went-bankrupt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-cities-you-never-knew-went-bankrupt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/abandoned_homes_000053069646.jpg" alt="Cities you never knew filed for chapter 9 bankruptcy" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know about the massive Detroit bankruptcy of 2013. The once great &quot;Motor City&quot; entered the record books as the biggest U.S. city ever to file for protection. The problems that caused the financial meltdown were numerous, and included a declining population, low tax revenues, high crime, massive unemployment, and of course, the Industrial Age giving way to the Information Age.</p> <p>But what about other cities in the U.S.? You may not know it, but many more have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/not-insuring-these-6-things-could-bankrupt-you">filed for bankruptcy</a>. Whether it came about through bad governance, or bad luck, the following nine cities all did the unthinkable, and filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.</p> <h2>1. Prichard, Alabama</h2> <p>Nicknamed &quot;The City of Champions,&quot; Prichard did nothing to champion the cause of the South when it filed for bankruptcy in 2009. The problem was the city pensions fund. Back in 2003, the powers that be hired an actuary to do a full analysis of the city's pension plan; they were told, in no uncertain terms, that the funds would be depleted in the summer of 2009. By October of 2009, the city filed for bankruptcy, and the next few years became a living hell for city employees and pensioners. Budgets were not passed, pension checks were not sent out, and Prichard became the embodiment of mismanaged money and ineffective government.</p> <h2>2. Jefferson County, Alabama</h2> <p>Strike two for Alabama. Okay, so it's a county, not a city. But once again, very shoddy mismanagement of government funds, plus a whole lot of unnecessary expenses, led to the most populous county in the state of Alabama filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. First, the county authorized a massive and sweeping overhaul of the sewer system in 1996. The updates were needed, but the project was plagued with corruption, overspending, bribery, and a whole host of other problems. There was also meddling with some very risky bond-swap agreements, resulting in a huge amount of debt being piled onto an already heavily-burdened government. By 2008, Jefferson County debt was lowered to &quot;junk&quot; status by Standard &amp; Poor's, and that led to outright bankruptcy in 2011. Of the $4.2 billion in debt, over $3.14 billion was directly linked to the disastrous sewer project.</p> <h2>3. Mammoth Lakes, California</h2> <p>A beautiful mountain town in the Sierra Nevada, this popular hotspot for skiers was forced to declare bankruptcy after a huge property deal became nothing short of an avalanche. It was all over the development of an airport, which was obviously supposed to be a big help for the town's tourism industry. But, after the deal with the developer turned sour, Mammoth Lakes was sued&hellip; and in turn owed the developer some $43 million in restitution. Considering the annual municipal budget for Mammoth Lakes was less than $20 million, they had no choice but to declare bankruptcy in 2012. However, it appears a settlement was reached after the fact, and the town is back on its feet, hopefully with no further plans for a massive airport.</p> <h2>4. Bridgeport, Connecticut</h2> <p>A victim of the deindustrialization of the United States (much like Detroit), Bridgeport suffered from heavy job losses during the '70s and '80s. As the jobs left, the urban center was abandoned in favor of suburban developments, and the decline spiraled from there. After several major upheavals, including a 19-day strike by Bridgeport teachers (over 270 of them were subsequently arrested and sent to jail), things started looking bleak. In fact, it got so bad that a proposal was outlined getting Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn to build a huge casino; how that would have helped is beyond comprehension. But, it fell through, and in 1991 the city filed for bankruptcy. However, despite the filing, the federal court declared the city to be solvent. A kind of &quot;Sorry, deal with it&quot; verdict.</p> <h2>5. Stockton, California</h2> <p>The housing bubble's burst left many towns, cities, and municipalities in dire straits; Stockton was one of those cities. However, there was also a great deal of government excess and financial mismanagement at the center of the Chapter 9 filing. But it was the massive decline in home prices, as much as 70% in some areas, that wiped out the tax base and left the city struggling to pay its debts. Over $1 billion of red ink was stacked up, including money owed to pension plans, civic improvements, and health care benefits. In 2013, the city filed for bankruptcy. Recently, an exit plan was formulated for Stockton and its 300,000 residents. If you have some time to kill, you can read about <a href="http://www.stocktongov.com/government/departments/manager/bankruptcy/">Stockton's Bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment</a>.</p> <h2>6. Gould, Arkansas</h2> <p>One of the smallest places on our list, this modest town in Lincoln County, with just over 1,300 residents, filed for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy protection in 2008. At the time, the government owed over $900,000 to its creditors; a tiny sum, in comparison to the billions of dollars in debt accrued by the likes of Detroit and Jefferson County. But, with only $10 in petty cash, Gould had to declare bankruptcy. Finger-pointing began, and Gould mayor Juanita Stephens claimed the filing came as a result of <a href="http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2007387/posts">poor bookkeeping</a>, past lawsuits, and &quot;an employee not having submitted payroll taxes.&quot; That's quite the burden to put on one employee.</p> <h2>7. Central Falls, Rhode Island</h2> <p>For the smallest city in the smallest U.S. state, the 2011 Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing was big news. It had been under state control since July of 2010, but could not find a way to resolve its bulging $80 million unfunded pensions and retiree health liabilities. Considering that the city had an annual budget of just $17 million, that's hardly surprising. And of course, the timing was right after the recession, making it even harder to rebuild and raise funds. &quot;Everything was done to avoid this day,&quot; said state-appointed receiver Robert Flanders, Jr. &quot;We tried in vain to persuade our retirees to accept voluntary reductions in their benefits.&quot; That's a tough pill for anyone to swallow.</p> <h2>8. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania</h2> <p>Perhaps the strangest case for a bankruptcy is the one of Harrisburg. It happened in 2011, but the wheels were put in motion in 2003, when the city borrowed over $125 million to rebuild and expand the city's already enormous trash incinerator. It had been shut down by the federal government due to toxic air pollution, but instead of simply starting afresh, the rebuild plan was put into action&hellip; and it started burning money faster than it ever burned garbage. After big delays, contractor problems, cost overruns, and of course, financial mismanagement, the incinerator was finally finished&hellip; but at a cost of over $288 million. It was too big a burden for the city to take, and Chapter 9 protection was the only course of action.</p> <h2>9. San Bernardino, California</h2> <p>Not many people in public office will come out and make definitive and unpopular statements. But two years before San Bernardino filed for bankruptcy, city manager Charles McNeely made a presentation to the council warning of impending financial ruin. &quot;You're headed for trouble, it's a train wreck, you can't keep doing business this way,&quot; said McNeely. He was staggeringly accurate in his predictions, and yet everyone chose to ignore his warnings and go on doing the same old thing. That involved spiraling employee pay, benefit costs, and budgetary gimmicks, coupled with a sharp and continued decline in tax revenues. In August 2010, around two years after the McNeely prediction, San Bernardino had a $40 million budget deficit for the fiscal year, and filed for Chapter 9 protection. McNeely told everyone, and no one listened.</p> <p><em>Has your town gone bankrupt? How'd it affect you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cities-you-never-knew-went-bankrupt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-you-should-make-five-years-before-retirement">5 Financial Moves You Should Make Five Years Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-steps-to-take-when-bankruptcy-is-your-only-option">11 Steps to Take When Bankruptcy Is Your Only Option</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-inflation">Why Inflation?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News bankruptcy budgets chapter 9 debt government funding u.s. cities Thu, 06 Aug 2015 13:00:18 +0000 Paul Michael 1510305 at http://www.wisebread.com What Net Neutrality Means For Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/net_neutrality_000039464264.jpg" alt="man learning about what net neutrality means for his wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just like water and electricity, Internet service is now essentially considered a public utility following the passage of new <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/openinternet">net neutrality rules</a> by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Depending on which camp your views are aligned with, this is either a positive step toward ensuring equal Internet access for everyone, or a bad move that could bring about over-regulation by the government.</p> <p>But, love it or hate it, net neutrality has arrived. And while a drawn-out court battle over the FCC decision will likely delay any real changes to your nightly Netflix consumption, we figure it's worth exploring how net neutrality could eventually impact your wallet.</p> <h2>American Consumers Could Face a Tax Increase of $11 Billion &mdash; Or Zero</h2> <p>According to a Progressive Policy Institute study, net neutrality rules could generate $11 billion in new taxes if regulators apply the existing fees on your telephone bill to your Internet bill.</p> <p>&quot;If these fees are already on the books and Internet service gets reclassified as a public utility, it makes it easier for these state and local authorities to argue [Internet service] should be subject to the same fees,&quot; said Hal Singer, one of the PPI study authors.</p> <p>Some experts, however, say it's unlikely that your Internet bill would reflect your <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/net-neutrality-taxes-mike-lee-fact-check">telephone bill fees</a>. Your phone bill, for example, most likely includes a charge for the local emergency 911 service, something that's totally inapplicable to your Internet usage. Following this school of thought, many pro-net neutrality scholars claim the new rules won't lead to any tax increase, while others say it will probably lead to a relatively small tax hike somewhere in the ballpark of $4 billion. PPI's number is already scaled back from its <a href="http://www.progressivepolicy.org/slider/outdated-regulations-will-make-consumers-pay-broadband/">original $15 billion estimate</a>, an indication of just how unstable these early projections are.</p> <h2>Potential Job Cuts in Telecom Industries</h2> <p>A New York University study found that net neutrality could cost the U.S. economy $62 billion and <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/technology/content/jun2010/tc20100616_751009.htm">eliminate half a million jobs</a> over the next five years. This is based on the notion that the new regulations would reduce broadband providers' incentive to invest in high-speed network infrastructure by shrinking their opportunity to bring in revenue.</p> <p>&quot;There will be follow-on effects in the whole ecosystem,&quot; said Bret Swanson, who co-authored the NYU study. &quot;A diminution of investment by the big infrastructure companies will reduce network capacity, new services, and investment by all the ecosystem companies.&quot;</p> <p>But not everyone agrees. For example, the chief technology officer for Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier and a proponent of stricter net neutrality rules, has publically said that neither Sprint nor its competitors would <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/11/us-sprint-corp-internet-neutrality-idUSKBN0LF00720150211">reduce investment</a> in light of increased regulation. &quot;Our competitors are going to continue to invest so they are representing a situation that won't play out,&quot; Stephen Bye told Reuters.</p> <p>Clearly, the jury's still out on exactly how much net neutrality will cost consumers like you. Keep your eye on this important new policy and its developments.</p> <p><em>Do you expect the new rules to help your budget &mdash; or hurt it? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Technology bills Internet job cuts Net Neutrality tax increases Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:00:15 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1359630 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Reasons Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World's Butt http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/children_race_000029170966.jpg" alt="Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt" title="Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It may be hard to believe, but the U.S. economy is giving the world a run for its money. Compared to most major developed nations, the U.S. is out-performing in terms of most major economic indicators. It seems we've managed to escape the grip of the Great Recession more quickly (and with perhaps less lasting damage), than many other wealthy countries. Read on to learn why today's American economy is the envy of the world.</p> <h2>1. Higher GDP Growth Rate</h2> <p>The U.S. economy's <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/gdp-annual-growth-rate">2.4% GDP growth rate</a> in 2014 was the best since the recession &mdash; and it's expected to grow an even stronger <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthasharf/2015/01/30/u-s-economy-grew-2-6-in-fourth-quarter-2-4-in-2014/">3.4% in 2015</a>, according to Forbes and the Economist Intelligence Unit. Our GDP growth also exceeds that of many other developed nations; the Euro area grew by a modest 0.9% in 2014, while Japan's economy actually shrank by 0.8%. And while emerging market powerhouses like China are still clocking growth rates of over 7%, this is a lower level of growth for them that actually poses some concern for their economic prospects. The U.S. economy, meanwhile, is on an upward trajectory.</p> <h2>2. Lower Unemployment Levels</h2> <p>Greece's unemployment is over 25%. France's is over 10%. Even Canada and Australia's are over 6%. But the <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/unemployment-rate">American unemployment rate</a> currently stands at about 5.5% &mdash; a marked decline since its peak of over 10% during the worst of the recession, and a good deal lower than many other developed nations'.</p> <h2>3. Stable Inflation</h2> <p>Both too much inflation, and its opposite, known as deflation (or negative inflation) are of concern to economists. That's because stable prices are essential for maintaining a healthy rate of growth and employment. During the Great Depression of the 1930's, for example, some years clocked deflation of about 10%. Meanwhile, the recession of the early 80's came packed with whopping inflation rates some years of over 13%!</p> <p>So, it should come as no surprise that America's relatively stable <a href="http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/">2014 inflation rate of about 1.6%</a> is the envy of other developed countries &mdash; such as many in the Euro area, where negative inflation has developed. In fact, some economists say the U.S. could actually stand to have a little more inflation for optimal results.</p> <h2>4. Resource-Rich Economy</h2> <p>The political instability in places like Venezuela, the Middle East, Ukraine, and Russia terrify many countries who rely upon their energy exports to fuel their economies. But it isn't only oil that's a concern &mdash; grains, food products, and a variety of other raw materials or agricultural good imports are also important to many countries who don't produce enough of their own. The U.S. finds itself in an advantageous position in this regard, thanks to its ample domestic supply of many essential resources.</p> <h2>5. Younger Population</h2> <p>A younger population means many things. It is more dynamic and innovative, leading to new ideas and companies. There are more able-bodied workers to fuel our industries. And of course, having a larger supply of younger workers is also a buttress for social programs, such as Social Security, which are largely financed by their contributions. Many European nations and Japan are rapidly aging, and face dire economic consequences, as a result. The U.S. has higher birth and immigration rates to thank for this advantage.</p> <h2>6. Stronger Banking System</h2> <p>American regulators responded effectively to the banking crisis, instituting programs such as The Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and requiring banks undergo scrutiny of their financial position via the so-called &quot;stress tests.&quot; The Fed also backed the acquisition of troubled or weaker banks, such as Washington Mutual, by larger banks, thus helping ensure the stability of the financial system. Today, the U.S. banking system is relatively strong and well-capitalized. Meanwhile, banks in parts of Europe, where stress tests took longer to be implemented, still face concern.</p> <h2>7. Effective Use of Stimulus</h2> <p>The stress tests and TARP are just a couple of examples of how the U.S. took the lead during the recession in ways many of its developed country counterparts didn't. The U.S. responded to the recession more quickly and aggressively, instituting strong stimulus measures to combat the downturn early on, including bond and asset purchases known as Quantitative Easing, sharply lowering interest rates, extending unemployment benefits, bailing out the now-profitable auto industry and financing shovel-ready projects. Europe and Japan took much longer or didn't implement stimulus as aggressively; the result, some economists say, is a markedly weaker recovery in those countries.</p> <h2>8. Strong Dollar</h2> <p>Not everyone is thrilled by the strength of the U.S. dollar (exporters, for example, find it tougher to sell their wares abroad), but the strength of the dollar is great news for U.S. consumers, who enjoy cheaper prices on imported goods. The strong dollar is also evidence of America's relative economic strength (after many years of trading for less than the Euro, the two currencies are now nearly at <a href="http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=EUR&amp;to=USD&amp;view=10Y">parity to the Euro</a>, for example). It's also partly based on the belief that we'll soon begin raising interest rates; a stronger economy means interest rates can finally rise, and higher rates draw more investors into the U.S. economy, thus boosting the dollar.</p> <h2>9. Strong Stock Market</h2> <p>&quot;The stock market is overvalued and due for a correction any day,&quot; say pundits. &quot;It's a bubble &mdash; people but stocks only because interest rates are so low and they can't get returns anywhere else.&quot;</p> <p>Even if those two statements were true, they still don't negate the fact that U.S. equity markets have been on a tear in recent years (the S&amp;P 500 and NASDAQ are both near <a href="http://www.thestreet.com/story/13063690/1/stocks-add-to-february-rally-as-nasdaq-hits-15-year-high.html">record highs</a>). And that's in part because investors from around the world still trust our companies and stock markets.</p> <p>But there's something else happening here, too: Merger and acquisition activity, as well as IPOs, are by some measures <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-2014-u-ipo-activity-163600415.html">back to pre-recession levels</a>. That' the stuff the economy runs on &mdash; new companies being launched, and existing companies being bought and sold. That this type of activity is up is further evidence of trust not only in U.S. markets &mdash; but in the U.S. economy, as a whole.</p> <p><em>Are you benefiting from the strong U.S. economy? Tell us how in comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-alvarez">Janet Alvarez</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt-and-income">Peak Debt and Income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-gdp-still-important">Is GDP Still Important?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-i-miss-about-the-recession">What I Miss About the Recession</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Economy GDP growth US economy world economy Tue, 17 Mar 2015 21:00:12 +0000 Janet Alvarez 1344238 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Profit From Obama's Cuba Announcement http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/obama_000019001597.jpg" alt="Obama town hall meeting" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The historic executive order issued by President Obama heralds a new era of eased relations between the United States and Cuba. After over 50 years of iciness between the two neighbors, Obama's order establishes official diplomatic ties, reduces some travel and financial restrictions, and paves the way for greater humanitarian support, as well as trade in some areas, such as communications equipment.</p> <p>While the executive order still doesn't mean all Americans can travel to Cuba for tourism or bring back as many Cuban cigars as they'd like, it does pave the way for stronger economic and social ties between the two countries. Even better, there are a few simple ways you can profit from this historic accord. Read on to learn five ways the Cuba announcement can boost your pocketbook.</p> <h2>1. Consider Travel Stocks</h2> <p>At just 90 miles from the U.S., Cuba was an American tourism hotspot before the embargo, and remains a top travel destination for many Canadians and Europeans. That's why easing of restrictions to the island nation is likely a boon for travel companies. Cruise lines such as <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=CCL&amp;type=2button&amp;fr=uh3_finance_web&amp;uhb=uhb2">Carnival&nbsp;Cruises</a>&nbsp;and <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AkV8CgTowyRCTxgevM741TEnv7gF?uhb=uhb2&amp;fr=uh3_finance_vert_gs&amp;type=2button&amp;s=RCL">Royal Caribbean</a> have rallied on the news, seeing their stock prices boosted in anticipation of liberalized travel restrictions. Keep in mind, however, that this executive order is not a lifting of the Cuban embargo &mdash; that's up to Congress. American tourism to Cuba would be limited until such a time, so assess travel stocks accordingly.&nbsp;</p> <h2>2. Buy Into a Caribbean ETF or Fund</h2> <p>Today's historic announcement triggered a spike in the <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylc=X1MDMjE0MjQ3ODk0OARfcgMyBGZyA3VoM19maW5hbmNlX3dlYgRmcjIDc2EtZ3AEZ3ByaWQDBG5fZ3BzAzUEb3JpZ2luA2ZpbmFuY2UueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMxBHBxc3RyAwRxdWVyeQNDVUJBLARzYWMDMQRzYW8DMQ&mdash;?p=http%3A%2F%2Ffinance.yahoo.com%2Fq%3Fs%3DCUBA%26ql%3D0&amp;type=2button&amp;fr=uh3_finance_web&amp;uhb=uh3_finance_vert&amp;s=CUBA">Hertzfeld Caribbean Basin Fund (CUBA)</a>, a fund which invests in companies throughout the Caribbean, including Cuba. Its price was up over 30% in intraday trading. Consider investing in ETFs or mutual funds with exposure to the island nation's businesses.</p> <h2>3. Look at Wire Transfer and Remittance Companies</h2> <p>The executive order increases the amount Americans may send in remittances to Cuba to $2000 per quarter, up from $500 today. That'll mean brisk business for remittance and wire transfer companies such as <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=WU&amp;fr=uh3_finance_vert_gs&amp;type=2button&amp;uhb=uhb2">Western Union</a>. Its stock was up nearly 4% in intraday trading on the news.</p> <h2>4. Consider Credit Card Companies and Banks</h2> <p>The new rules will also be to the benefit of many financial services companies, since it'll now enable American debit and credit cards to be used on the island. That could be a boost to credit card companies and card processing services. Shares of <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q;_ylt=AwrBJR9565FUrSEA0UCTmYlQ?s=V">VISA</a> and <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=AXP">American Express</a> also saw gains.</p> <h2>5. Consider Telecommunications</h2> <p>An authoritarian regime, Cuba has long been plagued by controls on its communications technologies which have been exacerbated by the embargo. The new executive order promises improved access to American telecommunications and Internet technology imports. That means stock of companies such as Verizon could see a boost. And when combined with further easing on travel to Cuba for import/export reasons, it means Americans involved in trade of communications products and devices may see improved business as a result.</p> <p>To be sure, there is no guarantee all of the executive order will be implemented easily, nor that any of these investments will bear significant returns. Already, some Republican lawmakers have expressed frustration with Obama's executive order, creating a potential Congressional showdown and hampering the likelihood of repealing the embargo. Still, this remains a historic opportunity to get in early on what may be one of the biggest investment stories of the next few years.</p> <p><em>Will you make changes to your portfolio to profit from normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janet-alvarez">Janet Alvarez</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-retirement-savings-avoid-401k-fees">Boost Your Retirement Savings: Avoid 401(k) Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-not-just-for-people">Retirement: Not Just for People?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-wealth-in-a-depressed-economy">How to Build Wealth in a Depressed Economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/etfs-offer-incredible-benefitswith-a-dark-side">ETFs Offer Incredible Benefits...with a Dark Side</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-vet-an-ipo-before-you-buy">6 Ways to Vet an IPO Before You Buy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Investment cuba obama Thu, 12 Mar 2015 07:40:16 +0000 Janet Alvarez 1270232 at http://www.wisebread.com Gas Prices Begin a Rebound: 5 Things to Know Now Before You Buy Your Next Car http://www.wisebread.com/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000051470404_XXXLarge.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Five years ago, I traded in a nimble 500 horsepower sports car for a hulking half-ton pickup truck. That's quite a change in daily driving habits, no doubt. But I remember my biggest shock: that first visit to the gas station. It cost over $100 to fill up the truck, twice what I was used to. I felt a little twinge of dread in the gut.</p> <p>It was really just psychological; the truck's gas tank was twice as big as the sports car's &mdash; they both got about the same gas mileage. But that pain in the pump stuck with me as gas prices rose for the next couple of years to about $4 a gallon.</p> <p>We've all enjoyed the break in the cost of a gallon of gas over the last half year. But lately, those pump prices have begun to rebound a bit. The AAA reports the <a href="http://www.fuelgaugereport.com/">national average</a> for a gallon of regular gas is up nearly 30 cents from a month ago, to $2.29. Though that's still more than $1 cheaper than the average of a year ago.</p> <p>A lot of folks believe the pump price jump is just beginning. A national survey by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) says most Americans believe we're going to see at least a <a href="http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/150215_gasprices_pressrelease.pdf">50% price increase</a> in the next two years &mdash; to well over $3 per gallon &mdash; and an 80% hike in the next five years &mdash; back to near $4. Some experts are saying we're heading to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/01/19/gas-oil-five-dollar-gallon/21865975/">$5 per gallon</a> before too long. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Gas Rewards</a>)</p> <p>If we really think the good times of gas prices are numbered, how does that impact our next vehicle purchase? Here are five takeaways.</p> <h2>1. 28 MPG or Better</h2> <p>On average, the consumers surveyed said they would be looking for the gas mileage of their next vehicle to around 30 MPG, compared to the 25 MPG rating of what they're driving now. That's a solid step to savings. Based on the poll's price expectations, driving an 18 MPG gas guzzler would cost you nearly $5,000 more on gas over the next five years than driving a 28 MPG vehicle. Most of us keep a vehicle for an average of at least five years, and with where we think prices are headed, driving an 18 MPG vehicle would see your current $178 average monthly gas costs nearly double in five years to $325 per month. Maybe our motto should be &quot;28 MPG or better.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Shop Smart &mdash; It's Not All Gravy</h2> <p>A hybrid vehicle can generally cost you a <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/hybrid/before-buy.html">20% premium</a> over an identical conventional gasoline engine model. Electric or part-time electric models are usually even more expensive. The break-even point a couple of years ago was about four years, however these days it can take closer to eight years to recoup your investment. But as gas prices go higher, that investment break-even point will shrink once again.&nbsp;</p> <h2>3. Green Cars Are Going for Less Green</h2> <p>While some consumers with short memories and unbridled optimism are buying trucks, SUVs, and other gas guzzlers while fuel prices are low, dealers are discounting the currently out-of-favor fuel-efficient vehicles, plug-ins, and hybrids. <a href="http://www.hybridcars.com/why-now-is-a-good-time-to-buy-a-hybrid-or-plug-in-car/">Discounts on green cars</a> are running 15% or better, and you're banking as much as 40-50 MPG.</p> <h2>4. Get the Credit You Deserve</h2> <p>Some advanced hybrid and electric vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit, with additional credits available in some states.</p> <h2>5. Savings Are Not Just on New Cars</h2> <p>Cheap gas is also impacting the used vehicle market. The National Auto Dealer Association says used mid-sized and full-sized pickups and SUV prices are up as much as 5%, while midsize and compact cars are discounted that much, or more.</p> <p>There's not a straight-up &quot;final answer&quot; on whether to go green on your next vehicle purchase. But fuel-efficient and fuel-alternative cars are getting cooler. With the introduction of the BMW i3 and the continued brisk sales of the upscale Tesla, going green has never been more popular. And keeping an eye on the MSRP and the MPG is a good way to boost your ROI.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hal-m-bundrick-cfp">Hal M. Bundrick CFP</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/gas-prices-begin-a-rebound-5-things-to-know-now-before-you-buy-your-next-car">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-next-car-be-electric">Should Your Next Car Be Electric?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-drive-a-hybrid-or-electric-car-on-the-cheap">6 Ways to Drive a Hybrid or Electric Car on the Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/extended-car-warranties-three-things-to-know">Extended Car Warranties: 3 Things to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-the-high-cost-of-cheap-gas-hurts-you">This Is How the High Cost of Cheap Gas Hurts You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dropping-the-price-of-gas-to-250-a-gallon-in-a-week">Dropping the Price of Gas to $2.50 a Gallon in a Week</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation Financial News car buying gas prices Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:58:45 +0000 Hal M. Bundrick CFP 1309178 at http://www.wisebread.com Brian Williams' $5 Million Fib: 4 Little Lies that Can Cost You Your Job http://www.wisebread.com/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman-contemplating-Dollarphotoclub_50735780.jpg" alt="businessman contemplating" title="businessman contemplating" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It was a $5 million fib. Maybe even more expensive than that. <em>NBC Nightly News</em> anchor Brian Williams' war story tall tale cost him six months pay, and considering his freshly signed five-year, $50 million contract, that's an expensive white lie. The fact is, he's likely never to return to the anchor desk at NBC, so his out-of-pocket penalty could be much larger.</p> <p>He fell into a surprisingly easy trap: stretching the truth so far as to finally reach the breaking point. It's something celebrities tend to do often &mdash; start believing their own press hype. But we're all prone to tell a &quot;harmless&quot; little falsehood now and then. <em>Your baby is so cute! No, those pants don't make your butt look big. The check is in the mail.</em> We all know the routine.</p> <p>And it's something we do at work, too. Well, we can't be brutally honest at all costs and there is a certain amount of gamesmanship in being gainfully employed, right? We're not really going to tell our boss she's gained a few pounds, are we? But little lies can compound over time &mdash; as Brian Williams well knows &mdash; and can take on a life of their own, if we're not careful. Here are six workplace white lies to avoid.</p> <h2>Taking Credit for Something You Didn't Do</h2> <p>You think people won't find out but they will. One survey noted the <a href="http://www.natcom.org/CommCurrentsArticle.aspx?id=1022">most frequent workplace lie</a> involves using deception to discredit other employees while attempting to make themselves look better to the organization. Brian Williams was &quot;taking credit&quot; for <a href="http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/nbcs-brian-williams-apologizes-false-iraq-war-story/">risking life and limb</a> on a helicopter in a war zone. Certainly without meaning to he may have, to some small degree, <a href="http://www.stripes.com/news/us/nbc-s-brian-williams-recants-iraq-story-after-soldiers-protest-1.327792#.VNKWQdl3NjQ.twitter">discredited members of the military</a> &mdash; often in harm's way &mdash; who took offense with his &quot;faulty memory.&quot;</p> <h2>Lying on a Resume</h2> <p>In a survey conducted last year by Career Builder, 58% of hiring managers said they've <a href="http://www.careerbuilder.com/share/aboutus/pressreleasesdetail.aspx?sd=8%2F7%2F2014&amp;id=pr837&amp;ed=12%2F31%2F2014">caught a lie</a> on a resume. And in an increasingly competitive job market, the problem is getting worse. One-third (33%) of those same employers said they've seen an increase in resume embellishments since the recession.</p> <p>It's not just about lying about the length of employment or education, either. One applicant claimed to have 25 years of experience &mdash; at the age of 32! Whoops. Half of employers surveyed (51%) said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on their resume.</p> <h2>Professing Competence in Something You Know Little About</h2> <p>It might start out with, &quot;Sure, I know how to use QuickBooks,&quot; and end up being &quot;...Well, I thought I could figure it out.&quot; That same Career Builder survey said it was one of the most common resume lies &mdash; &quot;embellished skill set&quot; &mdash; committed by 57% of those seeking to stretch the truth on their applications. And again, over half of employers surveyed saw resume fibs as grounds for dismissal.</p> <h2>Make Promises You Can't &mdash; Or Don't Intend &mdash; To Keep</h2> <p>As customers, we've often been on the receiving end of this white lie. &quot;Your table will be ready in five minutes.&quot; Thirty minutes later, we're still waiting &mdash; hungry and irritable. Sales training professionals often preach a mantra of &quot;under promise and over deliver&quot; to trainees, looking to build a culture of surprising customers, in a good way.</p> <p>And one final thought about lying &mdash; non-work related. A recent survey said that seven million Americans lie to their spouse or significant other about matters of money. In fact, one-quarter of adults under 30 admitted to being less than honest with the one they love about debt, spending, hidden accounts, or other financial falsehoods. Being open and honest about money is important in a relationship.</p> <p>Losing a love is much worse than losing a job.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hal-m-bundrick-cfp">Hal M. Bundrick CFP</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brian-williams-5-million-fib-4-little-lies-that-can-cost-you-your-job">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/women-and-wall-street-is-the-romance-gone">Women and Wall Street: Is the Romance Gone?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves">Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-dream-jobs-youre-never-too-old-to-pursue">9 Dream Jobs You&#039;re Never Too Old to Pursue</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Financial News brian williams Sun, 22 Feb 2015 07:42:00 +0000 Hal M. Bundrick CFP 1304298 at http://www.wisebread.com Do These 8 Things to Profit From the Improving Economy http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-buying-home-178728490-small.jpg" alt="couple buying home" title="couple buying home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After several years of sluggish growth, it appears that the economy is getting better. Unemployment has dropped. The stock market has been setting record highs. But are you poised to take full advantage of the rebound? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-rising-interest-rates-can-help-your-wallet?ref=seealso">8 Ways Rising Interest Rates Can Help Your Wallet</a>)</p> <p>Here are eight ways to position yourself for the best result once the economy kicks into high gear.</p> <h2>1. Pay Off Debt</h2> <p>If the economy is getting better and you find yourself earning more, getting rid of debt should be your first priority. The last thing you want is to miss out on an economic boom because you're handcuffed by loans and credit card bills, so pay that stuff off. And do it fast, because a good economy often comes with higher interest rates. So if you have debt, it's best to rid yourself of it before it gets pricier to pay down later.</p> <h2>2. Spend Less</h2> <p>The flipside of higher interest rates is that you'll be making more on any money you have in your bank account. So there's an incentive to save now. What's more, you may be earning more in general during strong economic times, so you have the double whammy of stashing more money into those saving and retirement accounts, plus a higher return.</p> <h2>3. Pump Those Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>There's never a truly bad time to begin investing, especially if you have a long savings window. So get started now, before stock prices get too out of hand. Consider upping your 401(k) contribution. And if you have an IRA, you have until April 15 to make contributions that count toward 2014's tax bill.</p> <h2>4. Lock In Whatever Prices You Can</h2> <p>A good economy often comes with some inflation. So it might make sense to explore ways to secure long-term price stability on items or services you use frequently. Locking in a price on a cable or mobile phone bill might make sense, and you may even be able to lock in prices on electricity and other utilities.</p> <h2>5. Build Up Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you are fortunate enough to have some extra money come your way, consider using it to build up your savings to protect yourself. Opinions vary on how much liquid cash you should have socked away, but at least three months of salary is a good rule of thumb.</p> <h2>6. Consider Buying That House</h2> <p>If interest rates do go up, mortgages could get pricier. So it may be wise to try and purchase a home now while rates are still historically low. If you've been on the fence about when to buy, now may be the time.</p> <h2>7. Ask for That Raise</h2> <p>When the economy was slow, employers were loath to give out pay raises. &quot;Times are tough, we've got to tighten belts,&quot; was the common response. Now, with things improving, it's harder for your boss to make the argument that you're not worth a bump in pay. If your organization has done well financially and you feel you've played a role in that, go ahead and ask for that increase.</p> <h2>8. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile</h2> <p>If things are getting better, employers may starting looking for new hires. Take advantage of the situation by updating your online presence and doing what's necessary to look good to recruiters. If you stopped working during the downturn, maybe its time to get back into the workforce. If you hate your job, maybe now is when you find a better one. And if you like your job, it never hurts to build up your network and see what else is out there.</p> <p><em>Are you ready for a better economy? How do you plan to profit from it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-8-things-to-profit-from-the-improving-economy">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-reasons-why-the-us-economy-is-kicking-the-worlds-butt">9 Reasons Why the U.S. Economy Is Kicking the World&#039;s Butt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/peak-debt">Peak Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-new-normal-economy">The new normal economy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-inflation">Why Inflation?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-buys-that-will-be-cheaper-in-2015">8 Buys That Will Be Cheaper in 2015</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News debt Economy employment growth income spending Mon, 08 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1264105 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Weird Money Laws You May Have Broken http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fortune-teller-459884341.jpg" alt="fortune teller" title="fortune teller" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money can make people do strange things. But what about when money laws themselves are beyond comprehension?</p> <p>From bizarre tax systems at home to monarchy-imposed oddities abroad, the world is full of some very odd laws governing the spending and collecting of money. Lucky for you, this list of them is free.</p> <h2>1. Don't Step</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/stepping-money-494564415.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Thailand's king is featured prominently on all the country's currency. Thailand's king is also not to be criticized, under legal penalty. So by extension, Thailand has one of the stranger money laws around: stepping on money is considered extremely disrespectful, and crazily enough, <a href="http://voices.yahoo.com/how-not-arrested-thailand-doing-these-things-5584569.html">could land you in a Thai jail</a>.</p> <h2>2. Do the Running Man, Pay the Tax Man</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/grandpa-dj-177803763.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>In Washington state, cover charges for movies, concerts, and theater are tax free. Unless, that is, the venue provides patrons with an &quot;<a href="http://www.futureofmusic.org/blog/2013/04/16/washington-state-dance-tax-has-venues-hands-and-feet-tied">opportunity to dance</a>&quot; (seriously), in which case tax must be paid. A holdover law from the 60s, the provision was largely forgotten about until recently, when one establishment was charged $25,000 for non-compliance.</p> <h2>3. Candy Pain</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/pretzel-154204881.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Buy a Twizzler in Kentucky and you're free from paying taxes. Buy a chocolate-coated pretzel, and you better keep that receipt. That's because their state law declares tax exempt <a href="http://xfinity.comcast.net/slideshow/finance-unusualsalestaxes/kentucky-candy-not-such-a-sweet-deal/">only those candies that don't contain flour</a>. Seems a little half-baked.</p> <h2>4. Canadian Currency Conundrum</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/counting-change-139247071.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>Find it annoying when the person in front of you in line starts counting out pennies for their purchase? Well in Canada, you could have that person arrested. According to the <a href="http://www.factfixx.com/2011/08/09/weird-laws-paying-with-coins-in-canada/">Canadian Currency Act</a>, there are all sorts of legal restrictions on what you can and can't pay for with coins, including the illegality of using more than 25 pennies in any transaction.</p> <h2>5. Nay-Saying Sooth-Saying</h2> <p><img width="605" height="341" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/fortune-teller-459884341.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>For something weird you're not allowed to charge money for, how about <a href="http://www.mattmlaw.com/blog/2013/10/obscure-crimes-fortune-telling-is-illegal-in-pennsylvania.shtml">Pennsylvania&rsquo;s law against soliciting payment for fortune telling</a>? The misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in jail, and extends to outlaw charging to place hexes or spells on people.</p> <h2>6. The Bagel Burden</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/bagel-121871835.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>It's tough to walk down a New York City street without running into a bagel joint. But if you're looking to avoid being charged tax on one of those heavenly bread circles, make sure you do not, under any circumstances, ask for your bagel to be sliced. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/25/bagel-tax-new-york_n_694361.html">As soon as the bagel is sliced</a> (or schmeared, for that matter!), it's considered prepared food, and can be taxed up to 9 cents.</p> <h2>7. Bavarian Bribes</h2> <p><img width="605" height="340" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5123/bribe-488122455.jpg" alt="" /></p> <p>While most of this list features legal restrictions, this last law gets honorable mention (it was eliminated just a few years ago) for <em>helping</em> facilitate a strange financial transaction. Namely: bribery. German tax law, it turns out, actually allowed private companies to <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1995-08-06/germany-where-bribery-is-tax-deductible-intl-edition%20http://www.businessweek.com/stories/1995-08-06/germany-where-bribery-is-tax-deductible-intl-edition">write off the costs of bribery on their returns</a>.</p> <p>Though good luck dealing with the angry bribe recipients after listing their names on your receipts&hellip;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this Post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%20Weird%20Money%20Laws%20You%20May%20Have%20Broken.jpg&amp;description=7%20Weird%20Money%20Laws%20You%20May%20Have%20Broken" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Weird%20Money%20Laws%20You%20May%20Have%20Broken.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-all-inclusive-vacations-and-cruises-worth-the-money">Are All-Inclusive Vacations and Cruises Worth the Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-celebrities-with-shockingly-low-net-worths">6 Celebrities With Shockingly Low Net Worths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-frugal-colonizers-guide-to-getting-to-mars">The Frugal Colonizer&#039;s Guide to Getting to Mars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-seattle">Free and Cheap Things to Do in Seattle</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Financial News Travel finance laws laws money money laws weird Fri, 20 Jun 2014 21:12:04 +0000 Joe Epstein 1142576 at http://www.wisebread.com Clams, Cheese, and Bread: Why We Call Money What We Do http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/dollar-481331743-small.jpg" alt="dollar" title="dollar" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Money. Sadly, it does make the world go around. There are around <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_circulating_currencies">180 different</a> types of currency in the world, including the Albanian <em>lek</em>, the Haitian <em>gourde</em>, the Moroccan <em>dirham</em>, and the Zambian <em>kwacha</em>. But you are more likely to know the slang terms for the US dollar and the British pound than any of those. Do you know where those terms actually came from? Let's take a look.</p> <h2>Buck</h2> <p>We use it so often, most of us don't stop to think that the word <em>buck</em> has very little to do with the word <em>dollar</em>. There doesn't seem to be any correlation, anyway. Why do we use <em>bucks</em>, when <em>dollars</em> works just as well? It seems there are many theories surrounding the origin of buck. The most popular is that is derives from the word &quot;<a href="http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/725/whats-the-origin-of-the-word-buck">buckskins</a>,&quot; which were a valuable form of currency when colonials were trading goods with Native Americans. For instance, a cask of whiskey would be worth five buckskins. Perhaps the terms &quot;bucks&quot; just stayed with us, even when deerskins have long since stopped being used as currency.</p> <h2>Quid</h2> <p>The natives of Britain commonly refer to the English pound as &quot;quid.&quot; Only someone trying to appear very formal would say &quot;pounds,&quot; when &quot;that'll be 20 quid&quot; is so much more acceptable. Where did <em>quid</em> come from though? Again, there is not one specific and definitive source, but two popular theories keep appearing in research documents. We know <a href="http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-quid.htm">the word quid</a> has been around since the 1600s. The Latin term <em>quid pro quo</em> (something for something... remember Hannibal Lecter?) was widely used back then, and it could have easily been coupled with a monetary exchange. However, the fact that a site of the Royal Mint was in <em>Quidhampton</em>, Wiltshire, is also floated as a possible source.</p> <h2>Bread or Dough</h2> <p>We've all heard these terms, and they're especially popular in the UK. Many people suspect that the term came from the fact that bread is one of the most basic forms of food, and something we often used to rely upon for nutrition. &quot;Give us this day, our daily bread,&quot; from the Lord's prayer, for instance, could be taken literally or figuratively. The term <a href="http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=bread">breadwinner</a>, used commonly from the 1940s onwards, took this idea and ran with it. The term <em>bread</em> was directly tied with someone who earned money. From there, it's easy to see how <em>bread</em>, and subsequently <em>dough</em>, came into common usage. Then there's Cockney rhyming slang. The term &quot;bread and honey&quot; was used instead of money. But there's enough evidence to suggest that <em>bread</em> was used as a term for money before the Cockney's adopted it.</p> <h2>Clams</h2> <p>If something is going to set you back 75 <em>clams</em>, you know what you're going to be paying. A <em>clam</em> is one dollar. How on earth did that connection become established? The most popular answer to this question is that clamshells were once used as currency in different parts of the world. There is also evidence that Native Americans from the California region (the <a href="http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/kroeber/miwok.html">Miwok people</a>) dealt in <a href="http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu/exhibitions/ncc/gallery_3_2_7.html">strings of clamshells</a> as currency, or for barter and trade.</p> <h2>Cheddar or Cheese</h2> <p>Although not related to any specific amount, people often refer to money as <a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/slideshows/money#cheddar"><em>cheddar</em></a>, or <em>cheese</em>. Ever wonder why? It appears to date back to the 1960s, when welfare and food stamp recipients were provided with a product called <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_cheese">government cheese</a>. It sounds about as appetizing as it probably was, as this processed product was made from surplus milk and different types of cheeses, blended with emulsifiers. Terms like &quot;you get your <em>cheese</em> yet?&quot; started to become synonymous with getting money from the government, not just processed cheese.</p> <h2>Sawbuck</h2> <p>Of all the terms on this list, the <em>sawbuck</em> is the easiest to explain. A sawbuck is another name for a sawhorse, which was originally fashioned by lashing two pieces of wood together to form an &quot;X.&quot; Some of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_ten-dollar_bill">first US $10 bills had a large Roman numeral X (10)</a> printed on one side. It was from this simple visual cue that the <em>sawbuck</em> nickname was born.</p> <h2>Greenback</h2> <p>We know the term <em>greenback</em> as a generic term for dollars, but back in the mid-1800s, it was not a term of endearment. During the American Civil War, over <a href="http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/greenback.asp">$400 million in legal tender</a> was printed to finance the conflict. But this money, printed green on one side, did not have the secure backing of gold and silver. Because of this, banks were reluctant to give customers the full value of the <em>greenback</em> dollar. Remember that next time you ask for 100 <em>greenbacks</em>; a history buff may just shortchange you. (By the way, our British readers may know the term from a very popular show from the eighties. Baron Greenback was the master villain that Danger Mouse often tried to overcome.)</p> <p><em>Know any other slang terms for US Dollars? Please share a few in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-money-laws-you-may-have-broken">7 Weird Money Laws You May Have Broken</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-ive-been-trying-to-say">What I&#039;ve been trying to say</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-life-inc">Book review: Life Inc.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-george-w-bush-write-for-wisebread">Should George W. Bush write for Wisebread?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-100-bill-unveiled">New $100 Bill Unveiled</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News dollars money money names slang Tue, 17 Jun 2014 09:00:07 +0000 Paul Michael 1142935 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Still Pay Attention to Bitcoin http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-still-pay-attention-to-bitcoin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-still-pay-attention-to-bitcoin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bitcoin-467138313.jpg" alt="bitcoin" title="bitcoin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It might sound like something the Super Mario Brothers obsessively hoard, but <em>bitcoin</em> is a form of electronic currency that's worth real money. Little known and even less understood, bitcoin has been gaining steam on a global scale as digital commerce continues to dominate consumer practices. However, due to its early adoption on the black market and price volatility, bitcoin is seen as something of a financial urban legend. While bitcoin has a checkered past and uncertain future, it is being exchanged right now for real money. So the question remains, should you invest in this cryptocurrency? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-you-should-know-about-bitcoin?ref=seealso">Here's What You Should Know About Bitcoin</a>)</p> <p>Introduced in 2009, bitcoin emerged as a peer-to-peer payment method; digital cash that users could trade for goods and services. Because bitcoins can be exchanged without an intermediary (such as a bank) it has its share of supporters and naysayers, each citing advantages and flaws in the system.</p> <h2>Fixed Supply</h2> <p>Traditional currencies like the US dollar are subject to inflation and price manipulation; however, the value of bitcoin lies solely with those willing to use and accept it as payment. Simply put, bitcoin's worth is derived from the basic concept of supply and demand.</p> <p>The total number of bitcoins is fixed at 21 million; once all 21 million bitcoins have been &quot;<a href="http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-bitcoin-mining-works/">mined</a>,&quot; that's it. It is estimated that there are <a href="http://blockchain.info/charts/total-bitcoins">12.3 million bitcoins in circulation</a> and it will take <a href="https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Controlled_supply">until 2140</a> for all available bitcoins to be mined. Bitcoins are introduced into circulation via a complex mathematical algorithm designed such that it mirrors the behavior of commodities like gold (hence why folks who discover bitcoins are called miners).</p> <p>As more bitcoins are added into circulation, &quot;mining&quot; them becomes increasingly difficult. This self-propagating scarcity drives the value of each bitcoin up, provided the demand continues.</p> <h2>Small Transaction Fees</h2> <p>When bitcoin was introduced, virtually no reputable businesses had heard of it, much less accepted it as a form of payment. The anonymity and untraceable characteristics of the digital currency was seen as an advantage in some of the Internet's seedier recesses, and bitcoin found early adopters within <a href="http://lawstreetmedia.com/news/headlines/bitcoin-why-is-it-prone-to-criminal-activity/">questionable circles</a>.</p> <p>However, as bitcoin becomes mainstream, traditional businesses are opening up to the unconventional tender. While bitcoin hasn't asserted itself as the currency of choice with merchants, it can be spent on everything from <a href="http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/virtual-bitcoins-can-now-be-traded-for-dominos-pizza/">pizza</a> to <a href="http://mashable.com/2013/04/17/okcupid-bitcoin/">online dating</a>, and the <a href="http://www.coindesk.com/information/what-can-you-buy-with-bitcoins/">list is only getting longer</a>.</p> <p>Bitcoin's surge in popularity amongst traditional retailers can be attributed to the low cost of transaction fees. Credit card companies charge merchants fees to use their services, something that retailers have derided for years. Because bitcoin is traded like cash, the <a href="http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-transaction-fees-slashed-tenfold/">processing fees are small</a> when compared to more traditionally accepted methods of payment.</p> <p>The intrinsic value of any currency is judged primarily on the ability to spend it. As the number of businesses willing to accept bitcoin grows, so does its value.</p> <h2>Potential Adoption in Emerging Markets</h2> <p>With basic financial services difficult to access in the developing world, bitcoin offers a method of transaction unrestricted by geographically isolated financial institutions like banks.</p> <p>With <a href="http://www.ibtimes.com/more-70-emerging-market-internet-users-are-facebook-fb-twitter-twtr-1555333">Internet usage growing</a> in these emerging markets and bitcoin payment systems accessible via phone or PC, bitcoin may very well become the method of choice by which these regions conduct business. Not only is this <a href="http://www.policymic.com/articles/41561/bitcoin-price-2013-how-bitcoin-could-help-the-world-s-poorest-people">beneficial in terms of economic development</a> in these areas, but it also increases bitcoin demand, resulting in good things for those holding on to these digital dollars.</p> <h2>Lack of Security</h2> <p>Bitcoin (as well as <a href="http://altcoins.com/">other forms of digital currency</a>) is decentralized, meaning that there is no figure of authority that controls it (like a central bank). Consequently, end users are responsible for looking after their own bitcoins and, since they are intangible, you can't exactly make a withdrawal and stash them under your mattress.</p> <p>Bitcoins are stored in a digital &quot;<a href="http://www.coindesk.com/information/how-to-store-your-bitcoins/">wallet</a>&quot; that allows the user to access his or her bitcoins and spend them. Just as people fall victim to pickpockets and purse-snatchers, your digital wallet is not safe from cyber thievery. The wallet that manages bitcoins is safeguarded by nothing more than a password.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://bitcoin.org/en/secure-your-wallet"> multiple methods to secure</a> your hard earned digi-cash, however nothing is foolproof, as illustrated by <a href="http://gizmodo.com/the-6-biggest-bitcoin-heists-in-history-1531881137">multiple, near-catastrophic heists</a>. One of the largest bitcoin thefts occurred when the exchange known as Mt. Gox fell victim to hackers. Using stolen passwords, the hackers made fraudulent trades on the Mt. Gox exchange and accumulated nearly $500,000,000 worth of bitcoin. That's half a billion&hellip;with a 'b'. The true owners of these bitcoins were left with empty pockets and, because bitcoins are notoriously hard to trace, there is little hope that they will ever see reimbursement.</p> <p>As the value of bitcoin increases, so does the attention of criminals. Because bitcoin isn't backed by any bank or government, once your bitcoin is gone, it's not coming back. This makes bitcoin thieves a lot like Keyser Soze, a tap of the keys and a click of the mouse and just like that&hellip; poof. They're gone.</p> <h2>Status as Legal Tender</h2> <p>Bitcoin's impact on the global economy is subject to speculation and, as a result, most of the world's governments are keeping mum on how they <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/01/31/bitcoins-legality-around-the-world/">plan to treat it</a>. As a currency still very much in its infancy, the status of bitcoin as legal tender is questionable.</p> <p>The IRS recently proclaimed that <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-25/bitcoin-is-property-not-currency-in-tax-system-irs-says.html">bitcoin is property</a> and consequently must be declared come tax time. This adds <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/15/how-i-paid-my-bitcoin-taxes/">a level of complexity</a> that may impede bitcoin adoption, however many see this recognition as a step towards legitimizing bitcoin as a true method of payment.</p> <p>Many of bitcoin's most vocal critics claim that the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-04/greenspan-says-bitcoin-a-bubble-without-intrinsic-currency-value.html">digital currency is inherently worthless</a> due to its decentralized nature. When the FBI shut down the online <a href="http://www.wired.com/2013/11/silk-road/">narcotic marketplace Silk Road</a>, the feds seized approximately $25 million worth of bitcoins, which they are now <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/01/16/the-feds-are-ready-to-sell-the-silk-road-bitcoin-kind-of/">gearing up to sell</a>.</p> <p>With the federal government preparing to get their piece of the bitcoin pie, it is becoming harder to refute the validity of bitcoin's worth. Bitcoin may not be backed by financial institutions or governments, but the basic principles of supply and demand have solidified its place as a legitimate commodity. After all, gold is just a rock in the ground, and money isn't worth the paper it's printed on.</p> <p><em>Do you own bitcoin? Have you considered it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ryan-lynch">Ryan Lynch</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-still-pay-attention-to-bitcoin">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing">Is Bitcoin Still a Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/could-trump-bring-higher-interest-rates-and-inflation-consider-these-money-moves">Could Trump Bring Higher Interest Rates and Inflation? Consider These Money Moves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-a-donald-trump-presidency-could-impact-your-wallet">6 Ways a Donald Trump Presidency Could Impact Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/clams-cheese-and-bread-why-we-call-money-what-we-do">Clams, Cheese, and Bread: Why We Call Money What We Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-profit-from-obamas-cuba-announcement">5 Ways to Profit From Obama&#039;s Cuba Announcement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News bitcoin crypto-currency Fri, 23 May 2014 08:12:16 +0000 Ryan Lynch 1140202 at http://www.wisebread.com Miracle Device Coin Rolls All Your Credit Cards Into One http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit-card-177134984.jpg" alt="credit cards" title="credit cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having your credit cards all suddenly disappear is something people usually fear. But now it's something you can eagerly look forward to, thanks to <a href="https://onlycoin.com/">Coin</a>, a new credit-card sized wonder-device that will effectively store all of your plastic in one place.</p> <p>The device has had early adopters salivating for about a year now, but it just <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/02/coin-video-demo/">debuted at tech festival Techcrunch Disrupt</a>, making its planned late summer ship date all the more real.</p> <p>So what <em>is</em> Coin, exactly? It's the size of a credit card, it looks like a credit card, and most importantly, it swipes like a credit card. But really, it's multiple credit cards stored on an electronic gadget that lets you toggle between each, eliminating the need to carry around a bulky wallet. Much of the beauty of the gadget is in its simplicity. Uploading cards, for example, is done with by simply swiping them through an iPhone attachment and then snapping a photo of each. Once uploaded, Coin lets you toggle among cards with the push of a button, allowing you, for instance, to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards">pay for gas with the company card</a>, then buy groceries with your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">cash back card</a>, then pay for dinner with your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">travel rewards card</a>.</p> <p>As with any great concentration of power (in this case, purchasing power), there's potential danger. What if you leave Coin behind, losing not only one card, but, effectively, <i>all</i> your cards? Never fear: the device uses a Bluetooth signal that syncs with your phone, meaning if the two get separated (e.g., You leave the card with the check), you'll be immediately notified.</p> <p>While first shipments are still a couple months away, Coin is accepting pre-orders now. Order now, and it may be one of the last time you actually need to dig out of one of your credit cards.</p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/w9Sx34swEG0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joe-epstein">Joe Epstein</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/miracle-device-coin-rolls-all-your-credit-cards-into-one">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-pieces-of-credit-card-tech-that-will-blow-your-mind">6 Pieces of Credit Card Tech That Will Blow Your Mind</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/turn-old-clothes-into-money-with-these-4-tools-and-apps">Turn Old Clothes Into Money With These 4 Tools and Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/capital-one-credit-card-applications">Get the Perfect Credit Card from Capital One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-spend-more-with-cash-or-credit">Do You Spend More with Cash or Credit?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Financial News Technology credit card gadgets technology Thu, 15 May 2014 09:00:25 +0000 Joe Epstein 1138804 at http://www.wisebread.com